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Long Term Empty Properties & the Empty Home Premium
Section 12 (2) of the Local Government Finance Act 2012 allows local authorities in England to set a council tax rate for long-term empty properties of up to 150% of the normal liability. A 'long-term empty property' must have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years. Some people know of this charge as the "empty homes premium".
The premium may be applied when a property has been empty for at least two years. The two year date is irrespective of how long its current owner has owned it. So if a purchaser buys a property which has already been empty for two years, they will become liable for the premium immediately. To end application of the premium the property must be brought back into use. If the property is occupied for a period of six weeks or less, it is regarded as not having been occupied for the purposes of calculating the two-year period.
This means that those who are liable for a property currently listed as empty (which has been empty for over two years) will have to pay 150% of the council tax charge.
There are a two exceptions where the empty homes premium cannot be applied:
- The empty property which is the sole or main residence of a member of the armed forces who is absent from the property as a result of such service
- The property is an unoccupied annexe which is being used as part of the main dwelling.
If you believe your property is one of these categories you must contact the Revenues and Benefits Service.